A MINIATURE Shetland pony has become the focus of attention at a charity which caters for adults with special needs.
The Bridle Gate Charity in Winkhill has fostered the pony from the Blue Cross Animal Rescue Centre, which has its headquarters in Oxford.
The 15-year-old pony is now settling down to life in the new surrounding of the Moorlands, where he has been joined by several chickens, goats, donkeys and horses already at Bridle Gate.
The centre has now fostered the pony, who is named Pip, on what they hope will be a long-term agreement.
The charity's facilities are presently open three days a week, but is now prepared to open a fourth day if there are enough people wanting to enjoy the outdoor life and gain animal welfare experience.
Kath Riley, who runs the Bridle Gate Centre said: "Blue Cross has another centre at Stretton near Burton where we went to see Pip.
"We had to show how we handled the pony at their centre.
"Then people came over to Winkhill to check out our facilities, including all our fencing.
"Following everyone being happy, Pip was moved to his new home and is now settling in and is already adored by the people who come to the centre.
"They think he is gorgeous and all want to take part in feeding, cleaning out, brushing and caring for him.
"One thing you have to do with the miniature ponies is not to get them overweight.
"People attending Bridle Gate get to learn about animal welfare and how to make items out of willow which we then sell.
"This gets people involved in making items and then the commercial side of selling. This gives many people confidence and at the same time gain experience. The centre also gets people out in the fresh air and gives them a purpose in life, along with social interaction where they also meet new friends in a safe environment."
The charity presently opens Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, but if enough people come forward to attend the centre, which runs from 10am to 3pm, it would look at making the facilities available for more people on Wednesdays if it was viable.
Anyone interested in members of their family attending the centre is asked to contact Kath on the number 01538 308020.